Like drunk driving, drugged driving – or DUID – is a severe criminal offense in Ohio. If a driver incurs a conviction for DUID, they may face severe legal penalties, including hefty monetary fines, suspension of their driver’s license, and even jail time, depending on the circumstances. If you face a criminal charge for DUID, you want the strongest possible legal team in your corner advocating for you every step of the way.
The experienced Cleveland drugged driving attorneys at Patituce & Associates, LLC understand the seriousness of a DUID charge and the potential penalties you might incur upon conviction. Our team has the knowledge and skills to aggressively defend you against your criminal charge or help you pursue the lowest possible penalty for a conviction. We can also obtain a favorable plea deal on your behalf with the district attorney handling your criminal case.
Let us help you achieve the case result that you need and deserve. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with an experienced Cleveland DUID defense attorney, please call us or contact us online today for more information.
Why Choose Us for Your Legal Defense Needs?
A conviction for DUID can land you in jail or subject you to other penalties and collateral consequences. The experienced Cleveland DUID defense attorneys at Patituce & Associates, LLC, understand what is riding on the line in your case. Fortunately, our legal team has the necessary experience and qualifications to help you pursue a case dismissal or other favorable result.
Our team members have a collective 70+ years of experience defending individuals in Cleveland against their DUI, DUID, and related criminal charges. We have also successfully tried more than 400 criminal cases to verdict.
One of our managing partners is a board-certified criminal trial lawyer.
Finally, three of our criminal defense attorneys were once state prosecutors representing the government in criminal matters. This can benefit your case because we understand how prosecutors gather evidence and build their cases from start to finish. We use that knowledge to our advantage when aggressively defending our clients against DUID charges.
Our experienced legal team has also built favorable connections with state prosecuting attorneys and criminal court judges, which we use to our clients’ advantage. Let us help you raise a solid legal defense for your pending DUID charge and work to secure a favorable case result on your behalf.
Ways That DUID Cases Resolve in Cleveland
There are multiple ways that drugged driving cases resolve in Ohio. In some circumstances, especially where the accused individual has a solid legal defense to their criminal charge, a bench or jury trial may be the best option.
When the case goes to trial, both parties present evidence, and attorneys make opening statements and closing arguments. The accused individual can raise one or more legal defenses to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case and prevent the state prosecutor from fully satisfying their legal burden of proof.
A successful defense might prevent the prosecutor from securing a conviction against the accused driver, resulting in a case dismissal.
At other times, the accused individual’s lawyer can negotiate a favorable plea deal with the state prosecutor. During a court hearing, the accused driver will typically plead guilty to a criminal charge in exchange for one or more concessions from the prosecuting attorney.
For example, the prosecutor might agree to a term of probation in exchange for a guilty plea. Alternatively, the prosecutor might recommend a lesser sentence, suspended sentence, or reduced charges in exchange for a guilty plea.
In some situations, it might benefit the accused driver to accept a plea deal from the prosecuting attorney. This is especially true if the individual does not have a solid legal defense to their charge. By accepting a plea deal, the accused driver takes away the uncertainty of a jury trial. However, they give up certain legal rights, including the right to take their case to trial or appeal the case result.
Our experienced legal team can help you determine your eligibility to argue a solid legal defense to your pending drugged driving charge. We can also counsel you on whether or not you should accept a plea deal from the state prosecutor handling your case.
What are the Two Types of Criminal Drugged Driving Charges in Ohio?
Ohio recognizes two different types of drug driving charges: OVI impaired and OVI per se.
An OVI (operating a vehicle while intoxicated) impaired charge implies that some type of drug noticeably affects a driver’s mental processes, reaction time, or actions. To prove an OVI impaired charge, the state prosecutor must demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the driver unlawfully consumed a scheduled drug and that the drug in question noticeably affected their ability to drive their motor vehicle safely.
Ohio’s other category of drugged driving charges is an OVI per se charge. With this charge, a driver may be subject to a conviction if they have a sufficient amount of drugs in their system. Moreover, for a prosecutor to obtain a guilty finding or conviction against a driver, the drug need not necessarily have impaired the driver’s ability to drive safely, responsibly, and carefully.
If a driver refuses to submit to a urine or blood test, a police officer can only arrest them for an OVI-impaired charge. However, if the driver takes a urine or blood test and the result shows that they exceeded the legal limit for that particular drug, then the driver may incur charges for both OVI per se and OVI impaired.
What Are the Allowable Drug Levels?
The amount of drugs that a driver may legally have in their system in Ohio depends on the type of drug test that the police officer conducts and the type of drug.
- For methamphetamines, the limit is 500 ng/mL of urine or 100 ng/mL of blood
- The legal limit for LSD is 25 ng/mL of urine or ten ng/mL of blood
- For cocaine, the limit is 150 ng/mL of urine or 50 ng/milliliter of blood
- For amphetamines, the limit is 500 ng/mL of urine or 100 ng/mL of blood
- For heroin, the legal limit is 2,000 ng/mL of urine or 50 ng/mL of blood.
- For marijuana, the limit is ten ng/mL of urine or two ng/mL of blood.
A driver with an excessively high concentration of a drug or other controlled substance in their urine or blood may also face a super DUI charge in Ohio.
To determine the level of drugs or alcohol in your system, a police officer or other investigator can administer a urine, blood, or breath test. If a police officer recently arrested you for drugged driving, you should have skilled legal counsel advocating for you every step of the way.
The experienced Cleveland drugged driving attorneys at Patituce & Associates, LLC can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your arrest and the results of any chemical testing in your case. We can also determine if you may be eligible to raise one or more legal defenses to your drugged driving charge and explore other potential options for your case.
Possible Penalties for a Drugged Driving Charge
For a state prosecutor to obtain a conviction against you on a drugged driving charge, they must fully satisfy their legal burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If the state prosecutor cannot meet their legal obligation, they cannot secure a conviction in your case, and a judge may have to dismiss the entire matter. If the prosecutor does secure a conviction, a sentencing judge will have the discretion to impose various penalties within the purview of the applicable state statutes.
The penalties that an individual may receive for a drugged driving conviction will depend on various factors, including the amount of the drug found in the driver’s system by chemical testing and the individual’s prior criminal record, if any.
Potential penalties for a drugged driving conviction may include:
- Monetary fines
- Jail time
- Required drug or alcohol testing and rehabilitation
- Supervised probation
- Restricted or revoked driver’s license
In addition to these potential legal penalties, drugged driving offenders may experience numerous collateral consequences affecting various parts of their lives. For example, an offender may have difficulty finding a place to live or gaining admission to a college, university, or other educational program.
Landlords and educational institutions routinely perform criminal background checks on applicants. A convicted drugged driving offender may also experience significant harm to their personal or professional reputation in the community.
If you ultimately incur a conviction on a drugged driving charge, our legal team can aggressively represent you at your criminal sentencing hearing before a judge. We can argue for the lightest possible penalty on your behalf and work to eliminate or at least lessen the collateral consequences you experience because of your drugged driving charge.
Defending Against a Drugged Driving Charge in Cleveland
Our knowledgeable legal team can also help you raise a robust legal defense against your pending drugged driving charge in Cleveland. Available defenses are very case-specific and will vary depending on your circumstances.
First, you can allege that a police officer or investigator made a mistake while performing a chemical test. When police officers and others make serious mistakes, those mistakes may invalidate the test results, resulting in a complete dismissal of your drugged driving charge.
In addition, we can challenge the initial traffic stop in your case. For a police officer to validly pull your vehicle over, they must have at least some reasonable suspicion or probable cause that you committed a crime.
Drivers have a Fourth Amendment constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures. We can review your circumstances and determine if we can allege a Fourth Amendment violation in defense of your criminal charge.
We can also raise a Fifth Amendment challenge if a police officer takes you into custody and continues questioning you after you assert your right to the presence of legal counsel. The basis for this challenge is an individual’s constitutional right against self-incrimination.
Finally, we can challenge the validity of a field sobriety test if a police officer administers it incorrectly or if they fail to consider environmental factors, including lighting and weather. A field sobriety test may also be inaccurate if a driver suffers from a pre-existing and unrelated medical condition, such as one that affects their balance.
Our legal team can investigate the circumstances of your arrest with you and determine your eligibility for arguing one or more of these legal defenses in your case.
Contact an Experienced Drugged Driving Attorney in Cleveland as Soon as Possible
If you are currently pending a drugged driving charge in Cleveland, time is of the essence. If you fail to secure qualified legal counsel right away, you may inadvertently jeopardize your legal rights in your case as a whole. This is because a defense attorney needs ample time to gather evidence to challenge your charges, speak to witnesses, formulate legal defenses, and prepare your case for trial.
At Patituce & Associates, LLC, our experienced attorneys can aggressively represent you at every stage of the legal proceedings in your case. We can help you assert a solid legal defense to your charge or work to secure a favorable plea deal from the state prosecutor, depending on your circumstances.
We know many ways to defend against DUID charges, and we will build the strongest possible defense in your favor. We review all evidence against you and determine the best ways to challenge it, often resulting in a case dismissal or acquittal. We can also present a strong case for a plea deal or lighter sentence for a conviction.
If a court convicts you of a criminal offense, it can affect you for the rest of your life. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with an experienced Cleveland DUID defense attorney, please call us at (440) 641-4434 or contact us online today.